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|Insomnia (The Criterion Collection)
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Brand: Image Entertainment
Disgraced Swedish detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård) travels to northern Norway to solve a brutal murder in Insomnia. Unable to sleep through the night of the midnight sun, Engström quickly loses his grip on the case and his mind. Erik Skjoldbjærg's debut feature is a deft amalgam of psychological thriller, morality play, and police procedural. Criterion presents the DVD premiere of Insomnia in a new widescreen transfer.
This 1997 film from Norway and neophyte director Erik Skjoldbjærg delivers the goods with unsettling effectiveness. It's an intense, smart, and taut thriller if only because what it eerily implies is creepier than the film's reality. Opening with a churning, chilling murder of a young woman, Insomnia invites the viewer--as well as its protagonist, celebrated Oslo homicide cop Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård)--into the mind and thoughts of a killer by making Engström fatally flawed himself. While in pursuit of the murderer, Engström makes a mistake; he accidentally shoots his partner and friend and covers up his deed in a panic. But he overlooks a minor detail: the real killer has seen him commit the crime. What ensues is a layered, complex, and unnerving descent into chaos, brought on by the inability to sleep in this land of the midnight sun. Engström suffers from insomnia, which warps his logic and resolve, and before long he's totally unraveled and unsure of his every move. But not before a twisty transference and countertransference occurs between cop and killer. The two play a game of high-stakes one-upmanship that surprises in the end. Insomnia is fresh and psychologically bent, full of Scandinavian despair and dark humor, and it boasts a film noir pulse beneath its blinding light. --Paula Nechak
|Cool & Crazy
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Brand: First RUN Features
Much as Buena Vista Social Club revealed a rich and unexplored world of music and culture, Cool & Crazy introduces us to a group of men who find purpose, companionship and even fame, as members of the Berlevåg Male Choir in Norway. From singing above precipitous cliffs during a raging snowstorm, to the backstage maneuverings on their Russian tour, Cool & Crazy revels in the spirit of these rugged men as they bare their souls through songs of faith and hope.
The Berlevåg Male Choir, the unlikeliest of movie stars, is a group of 30 or so fisherman--the youngest at age 30, the oldest in his 90s--from a little village on the northernmost coast of Europe on the banks of the Barent sea which has a practically uninterrupted view of the North Pole.
In Cool & Crazy one of Norway's most experienced directors, Knut Erik Jensen, captures this otherworldly environment in a majestic and profound manner. We witness the lives of a group of stout-hearted men, perched above the edge of the Barent Sea, facing the unforgiving onslaught of icy Arctic waves, dressed for their 'engagements' in navy suit jackets, black bow ties and white sailors caps. For some, this will be a film about men, for others it will be about love, or politics, or fish. Above all it is about the beauty and dignity of ordinary lives lived under extreme circumstances.
Cool & Crazy has enjoyed incredible success in its native Norway, where over half a million people have seen it. It was voted 'Best of the Festival' at the 2001 Edinburgh Film Festival-- The Guardian called it "The best movie about music since Buena Vista Social Club." Cool & Crazy made its US premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival, where it won the Gold Hugo Award for Best Documentary, before opening in theatres around the country to great critical acclaim.
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Brand: First Look Pictures
Elling is a slyly funny odd couple comedy about two misfits trying to find their place in the world. After a two-year stint in a state home in which the shy, neurotic Elling and the loud, sex-obsessed Kjell Bjarne became close friends, the pair are relea
This Norwegian comedy (nominated for an Academy Award®) concerns two men being released from a state home. Until the death of his mother, Elling rarely left the apartment where they lived; Kjell has lived in institutions most of his life and is obsessed with sex, as any virgin in his 30s might be. Thanks to a new social program, the two roommates are given an apartment in Oslo--if they can manage to live independently. At first simply answering the phone or buying groceries is a struggle, but as they taste freedom, their lives become an exciting adventure. In a Hollywood movie, these two would be cute goofballs; what makes Elling so very engaging is how genuinely awkward and uncomfortable Elling and Kjell are. Their difficulties in the world are treated with respect and realism, which makes their progress bracing and their success delightful. A charming film. --Bret Fetzer
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This epic love story set in 14th-century Norway is Liv Ullmann's (Faithless) remarkable adaptation of Sigrid Undset's 1928 Nobel Prize-winning novel. Kristin Lavransdatter follows one woman's decision to break with tradition to marry the man she loves rather than the man her father has chosen for her. Torn between her longing for love and her sense of family loyalty, she ventures into a life filled with passion and pain, joy and sorrow. The star of many Ingmar Bergman films (Scenes from a Marriage, Autumn Sonata), director Ullmann collaborates here with cinematographer Sven Nykvist (Cries and Whispers) to create a film as visually entrancing as Bergman's finest. Her insightful exploration of medieval society captures the essence of life throughout the ages.
|Autumn Sonata (The Criterion Collection)
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A stunning union of two of Sweden's national treasures, Autumn Sonata pairs Ingmar Bergman with Ingrid Bergman for their only joint effort. Ingrid plays a mother who, after forsaking her family for a music career, attempts a reconciliation with her oldest daughter (Liv Ullmann) through a night of painful revelation. Sven Nykvist contributes glorious Eastmancolor cinematography to this quietly beautiful story of forgiveness. Criterion is proud to present Autumn Sonata in a gorgeous digital transfer.
|Breaking the Waves
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Brand: Artisan Entertainment
When Bess, a naive young woman, marries Jan, a handsome oil-rig worker, she experiences passion and physical pleasure that she never imagined. Their bliss is cut short when an accident on the rig leaves Jan paralyzed. Believing he will never make love to Bess again, he tells her to take other lovers, convincing her that this will help his recovery. Bess is sent spiraling into a world of dark emotions she cannot understand
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Just as Knut Hamsun's novel, Hunger, considers what it means to starve for one's work, Danish director Henning Carlsen's film adaptation of Hunger portrays the story’s protagonist as an inscrutable man whose eccentric dedication to literature costs him his health. Hunger, the first Scandinavian co-production to represent Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in its making, takes place in 1890's Christiania (Oslo), where Pontus (Per Oscarsson) perseveres homelessness and starvation to write articles for a local magazine editor. Filmed in grainy black and white, Hunger is as thoughtfully subtle as an Ingmar Bergman film. Pontus's washed-out hallucinations recall The Seventh Seal, while his preoccupation with the lovely Ylajali (Gunnel Lindblom), whose name he invents because of the way the name rolls off his tongue, recalls the romanticism of Wild Strawberries. Scenes showing Pontus considering how to steal bones from dogs, or pleading with his boots to stay on his feet, capture his self-inflicted tragedy, while other scenes depicting citizens refusing to help Pontus earn money elicit sympathy for his plight. Watching this film alongside Hamsun, a wonderful biography of the author, shows similarities between the author and his most famous character, Pontus, not due to Knut Hamsun’s poverty or sketchy mental facility, but rather his undying commitment to skepticism and literature. Hunger, however, quiets those personality traits, making Pontus as sensitive as he is uncompromising. --Trinie Dalton
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(Drama) Henry Chinaski (Dillon) considers himself a writer, and on occasion writes. Mostly he quests for the booze and women that sidetrack and seduce, rather than inspire greatness. When he falls for Jan (Lili Taylor), the soulful connection fails to
Matt Dillon lumbers through Factotum like a side of beef just starting to rot, lifting his chin in quiet, semi-comic reflections on the domestic squalor of a booze-ridden life. His slow, thick performance--as if he had something more viscous than blood running through his veins--has a weary gravitas that veers from wry resignation to bursts of violence that he regrets even as he's committing them. As Henry Chinaski (an alter ego of author Charles Bukowski), Dillon idly skips from job to job, seeking one that will allow him to continue his two pursuits: Writing and drinking. He gets enmeshed with one woman (Lili Taylor, I Shot Andy Warhol) and dallies with another (Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom), but his only true love is the bottle. Despite this bleak storyline, Factotum proceeds with an almost lighthearted pace, each spare scene delivered with a dry, almost wistful tone of regret and flashes of gallows humor. Director Bent Hamer (Kitchen Stories) is from Norway and has a similar aesthetic to Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki (The Man Without a Past); sly slices-of-life that deliver bad news with a gentle, forgiving touch. --Bret Fetzer
- Brand Name: GENIUS PRODUCTS INC Mfg#: 796019797351
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- Genre: DRAMA
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A Swedish researcher strikes up an unlikely friendship with a cranky Norwegian farmer in this "quirky, thoughtful and bittersweet" (Boxoffice) comedy that captured audiences hearts around theworld. Both "warm" (Newsday) and witty, Kitchen Stories is "a deadpan, thoroughly delightful comedy that cooks up tasty laughs" (New York Post)! It's the 1950s, and a Swedish efficiency expert under strict orders not to interact with his subject is sent to improve a Norwegian farmer's culinary efforts. But the sly old farmer much prefers to amuse himself by impeding the timid researcher's work! Soon, in the struggle between neutral observation and the need for human interaction, the kitchen becomes a battleground!
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Brand: TLA RELEASING
Fueled by icy sexuality and raw violence, Next Door is a chilling and provocative thriller with a mind-bending twist. Newly single, John befriends the two women living in the cluttered labyrinth of an apartment next door. This neighborly spirit leads to a bizarre seduction, culminating with a blow to the jaw that dredges up deeply disturbing memories. Could it be the end of John's sanity, or is it just what he needs to see things clearly for the first time?
- Behind The Scenes
- Next Door: Rooms Of The Mind
- Meet The People Next Door
- Danger After Dark Trailers
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